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PBA: Beermen equalize

SMB averts another collapse to tie series.

Defending champion San Miguel Beer came up with a defensive gem in the dying seconds to deny Barangay Ginebra San Miguel a game-tying basket, 95-92, and level at 1-1 their semifinal series in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

After Ginebra point guard LA Tenorio brushed off Marcio Lassiter from outside the 3-point arc and swished in a triple to cut SMB’s lead to 94-92 with 20 seconds remaining, the Kings went on a trap during the Beermen’s inbound play, hoping to force a turnover.

But the ball went from Lassiter all the way to Elijah Millsap who had an open lane for a dunk along the baseline after Japeth Aguilar gambled on a steal, making it a 3-point lead.

Ginebra coach Tim Cone designed a two-man game on the flank between Tenorio and Justin Brownlee, but SMB sent three men to track them down and the embattled Kings import was forced to take a pump 3-point shot that had a good line but bounced off the rim at the buzzer.

Tenorio finally rediscovered his shooting touch as he scored 12 points in the third quarter.

After going scoreless in the series opener, Tenorio rook charge of Ginebra’s attack, with his three-pointer from top of the key giving the Kings the lead, 61-60, with 5:51 left.

San Miguel answered with Alex Cabagnot nailing a jumper, June Mar Fajardo converted a followup, and Millsap scored on a layup that gave the Beermen a 66-61 advantage.

Then the Kings had a powerful push.

Brownlee came through with back-to-back triples that sandwiched a free throw by Sol Mercado, and the Kings seized control 69-66.

The third frame ended with SMB up, 72-71.

San Miguel again dictated the tempo of Game 2 as June Mar Fajardo and Millsap each scored 10 points in the first half where the Beermen grabbed a 16-point lead (47-31) late in the second period.

SAN MIGUEL 95 – Millsap 25, Fajardo 18, Cabagnot 13, Tubid 10, Lassiter 8, Ross 8, Santos 7, De Ocampo 6, Reyes 0, Semerad 0.

GINEBRA 92 – Tenorio 22, Brownlee 18, Caguioa 11, Mercado 11, Mariano 10, Aguilar 9, Thompson 7, Cruz 4, Devance 0, Marcelo 0.

Quarterscores: 24-18, 51-40, 72-71, 95-92